Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Lt. Charles Joseph Margiotta

Since 2006, I have had the honor and pleasure of honoring a hero that lost his life in the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001.  It’s been 17 years since the attacks that struck our nation, but you will forever be in my heart.  I had the pleasure of speaking with your brother Mike last year and he was grateful that you will forever been honored by someone who didn’t know you.  It is my honor to be your voice.

Every year I have so much to say, but this year I am at a loss about what to write. I vowed to your brother to learn something new about you every year.  I’ve read the many funny stories off of the website that was created in your honor, and they all said the same thing, you had a huge heart.  One story spoke of the pit bull that you would dress up in a NYFD jersey and let run loose on the field, it said that the NYFD always beat the NYPD with you on their team.  According to your friends the word “hero” is not what you would associate yourself with, you would just be doing your job. You, Chuck, are a hero in the lives of many.

17 years ago, you ran into a building not knowing what would happen next, but you saved many lives, while losing your own.  Those people whose lives you saved would say you are their hero.  You are a hero to me for giving up something so precious so that others could be saved.  We remember you always, may we never forget your sacrifices.

Today, and everyday, I work to honor the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11.  I will continue to teach my kids about this day, because it can’t just be history.  The need to know how this affected us as a nation, and each of us individually.  I was just a 17 year old girl, roaming the halls of my high school that day. Little did I know the impact it would have on me at the age of 34.  At 17, I watched a nation come together, people become better people, and friends forever changed.  I watched people mourn and grieve, even though we had no answers as to why.  I watched 132 high school seniors band together and vow to never forget.  I saw America become patriotic again.

Today, and everyday, we not only honor Lt. Charles Margiotta, but the 2,996 that lost their lives that fateful day.  We honor the many men and women who have died or are suffering from an illness that was caused on that day.

To all of the first responders and their families, thank you for your unwavering sacrifice to keeping us safe.  To the men and women that fight for our freedom everyday, thank you! To those who have lost their lives during 9/11, I keep your family in my prayers always.

If you’d like to read my first blog post about Chuck you may do so here.  The link to last years blog post.  I encourage you to go read the many stories posted about Chuck on his families memorial website, and if you’d like to donate to his scholarship fund, I know they would appreciate that.

*all photos have been used with permission

Friday, July 06, 2018

Three Long Weeks

It’s been three of the longest weeks of my life. Cowgirl passed three weeks ago. It’s been hard for us girl. I wish I could convey how much you are missed around here. Dad and I cry at least a couple of times a week.

The other night we were laying in bed and I started to cry. Dad asked me what was wrong.  I was going to tell you goodnight but the reality hit that you were no longer with us. I told you goodnight and I loved you. I hope you heard me. Dad said it was ok to still say those things because you live in our hearts. I didn’t know it would be this hard, no one prepared me for this.  There is nothing that anyone can say to prepare us for this. You were here one day, and gone the next.  I asked dad when this nightmare would end.  They say you learn to cope, and things get easier, but I want to know when. Will our hearts be broken forever?

We went out of town a couple of weekends ago, and when we came home that was so hard. You weren’t here to greet us at the front door.  The house was so empty and quiet.  While we were driving to Houston, Dad said, “What if we come home with a new blue puppy?” My heart broke, and I responded that I wasn’t ready yet.  There are not any blue puppies in this world that are just like you, sweet, beautiful, loyal, calm, loving, and precious.  There are plenty of blue puppies out there, but none like you.  You were truly one of a kind.  For now, we will love Sheriff Ringo and Ruby, they deserve just as much love as we gave you.

Rufus Kitty still lays in your bed, and he still leaves room for you. He’s become the most snuggly thing ever since you passed.  He has now started to play with the puppies, but they don’t play with him like you did. In fact, they don’t really know what to do. He misses you so much, just like the rest of us.

We’ve talked about leaving the puppies out over night to roam the house, but Sheriff can’t behave.  He comes in the house and ten minutes later we find shredded things in your bed.  He digs stuff out of any trashcan he can find.  He even ate some crayons the other day, what a crazy dog!

I posted on Chewy about how you have passed.  Their response was beautiful. Did you know they sent us a dozen roses and a candle?  How cool is that?! It’s not cool that we have to go through this, but its cool that they honor each of their customers fur babies.

I’ll leave you with this. I honestly didn’t know that my heart could shatter into a million pieces.  I never knew that when you passed, a part of me would go with you.  We miss you with all that we have.  Watch over Daddy please. He misses you greatly.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Cowgirl’s 1st Birthday.
On Memorial Day, 2009, we brought home the sweetest girl ever. A bright and beautiful Blue Heeler named Cowgirl.  I remember the long drive to Coleman, TX to pick her up. We got to the guys house, and we instantly fell in love with her. She was beautiful! We made the long journey home with her. I remember her soaking a towel with her slobber as she laid her head in Colby’s lap. She also pooped in the truck as well. Poor girl was a nervous wreck. She always loved the idea of car rides, but in actuality they made her nervous.

We had many good years with our girl. She was kind, protective, loving, and sweet. We saw her through many things, often babying her with all we had. She loved to steal bread off of the counter, no matter how far back you put it, she would get it. I remember one time she stole the bread while Colby and I were out at dinner.  When we got home I noticed it was gone, she was hiding in her room, and we couldn’t find the bag.  We got to looking and called her out of her room, she had been smart enough to take the bag and lay on it.  That crazy girl was hiding the evidence.  She also stole food off the table a few times, and would eat something of yours if you walked away for only a minute.  She was sneaky, but we just laughed.

She watched that fish tank for a good five minutes that day!
In 2011, I got pregnant with Stephen, and I worried about what kind of dog she would become once we brought him home.  My fears were unwarranted. She was absolutely amazing with Stephen.  She would lay in the doorway of his bedroom while I rocked and fed him.  She always wanted to be close by him to make sure he was ok.  When he would do tummy time, she needed to be right at his side.  If he was on the floor, she was always right there with him.  She had become his great protector.  He loved her so much and she tolerated his shenanigans well.  She never nipped at him when he would lay on her or accidentally pull her ear.  She loved him so much.

Always watching her Buddy, and her baby was never far away. 
The years went by, and we moved twice before landing in our permanent home.  Of course she was always willing to go where we were.  She was such a resilient girl.  She befriended a tiny little kitten and they became best friends.  She had numerous surgeries for infected teeth, ripping open her belly on the baby gate, her toenail getting caught in the door, and so much more.  She was so awesome during it all. What a trooper that girl was, and she always recovered much better than they said she would.  She stayed by her daddy’s side while he was so incredibly sick in 2016. She comforted him everyday.

Fast forward to 2017, we noticed she was bleeding from her nipple one evening, and we knew that couldn’t be good. We took her to the vet and told us she needed surgery to remove the mammary tumors.  After her surgery he told us that he could tell they were malignant and would indeed spread so we needed to keep an eye out. They got worse, and they spread like wild fire.  She didn’t seem to be in pain and we put it off taking her in again.  In our eyes she was doing well, I often think that God was making us enjoy those last months with her.  We did enjoy them, that’s for sure.

Cowgirl and Buddy waiting for Daddy to come home. 

Last week she began struggling to breath, we had noticed it, but didn’t do anything about it, we were too scared to face the harsh reality of it all.  I took her into the vet last Wednesday, inquiring about if there was anything we could do, or was it time to say goodbye.  He informed me she probably had one week of life left before she crossed the rainbow bridge.  I’m glad we didn’t take that for granted or we would have been so disappointed. We scheduled a time and a day to end her suffering, but she decided that wasn’t good enough.  We enjoyed her on Wednesday, I took her for a long car ride, took her outside many times, and we just hung out.

Wednesday evening we noticed she would head to the bedroom, and then come back to the living room.  I took her back to her bed a couple of times until we figured out that she wanted us to come to bed.  Colby and I got a little bit of sleep on Wednesday, and Thursday morning about 4:30 we both woke up.  Her breathing was terrible.  She was really struggling.  Colby laid in the floor with her for a while before telling me he didn’t think she would make it. My heart was hurting because I knew she wouldn’t either.  She finally came to the living room, I followed her and came to check on her many times.  Then, I suddenly didn’t hear her tags clinking together anymore so I came back to the living room to check again.  She had passed.

We miss her so incredibly much, but we know that she’s with Jesus.  We also find comfort in the fact that she is healed.  She can run without struggling for the next breath, she can walk without a limp, and she is cured of cancer.  We tried to bury her, but our soil is a combination of dirt and caliche.  Caliche becomes hard like concrete once it’s rained a few times and becomes really packed.  It’s hard to dig in that.  We opted for cremation.

Today, I brought our girl back home.  We know she is at peace.  She gave us the best 9 years of her life, and we enjoyed every moment of them.  She was our first dog that we got as a family, she was with Colby through some of the roughest times as well.

Cowgirl, we miss you so much, and our hearts break without you here.  We love you. Be a good girl.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Little Peep

So we have started hatching some chickens to add to our flock out at the property. We were blessed with 10 chicks a few weeks ago, except one chick was super special. His name was Peep Peep or Peep as we called him. He was loud, noisy, demanding of snuggles, and loved.  He had down that felt like the fur of your favorite stuffed animal. He was unique. He was born with his feet messed up, so we bandaged them up and made him little shoes. It looked like he was wearing paddles for a few days! He was sweet, loving, lovable, and now he is missed. There isn’t a day that goes by that little Peep isn’t on my mind.
Little Peep enjoying the sunshine. He wasn’t too wild about the grass! 

Little Peep was born very sick, he squeaked when he breathed and his feet were messed up. We gave him antibiotics, syringe fed him, fixed his feet, and loved him immensely. He had his own apartment, an incubator, with a stuffed monkey for snuggles and company, as well as food, water and a dirt box. When he hatched I had to help him completely, he was stuck oh so bad. Then we noticed his feet never flatted out, so we bandaged him up. The first night I got up every hour to give him water and food. I couldn’t let him die without me trying, after all he had already endured so much.

Colby saw how desperate I was to save little Peep, so on Friday he went to TSC and bought all of the necessary supplies. We started Peep on antibiotics, as well as a few other things, by the end of the day he was a new little chick. He started eating wet feed, on his own, as well as drinking. It was an exciting time. By the following Wednesday, Peep had started to go down hill. I continued my regiment of feeding and giving him water throughout the day, but he was losing weight. God had only given us a short time with him, and I’m so glad we made the most out of it.

Peep on Mother’s Day. I was so sick, but he needed to be taken care of, so I pushed my needs aside to care for him.  This is the day he started doing really well. 

I started taking Peep outside to do normal chicken things.  We played in the grass in the sunshine. I took him to experience the dirt that his siblings were hanging out with. I took him to see the big chickens. We hung out a lot. I played with him on the carpet, and most of all I loved him. The day before he passed it rained, and I knew at that point he would never grow big enough to experience it for himself. I wrapped him up in a towel and we went outside to watch the rain. You see, that morning he was really weak and he fell in his water dish. It wasn’t deep enough for him to drown but he became really cold. He started screaming and cheeping really loudly from his apartment, and my momma heart knew something was wrong. I rushed to the bathroom, grabbed a towel, and started the blow dryer. I knew that if I didn’t get him warm I would lose him. I got him all warm, got him dry, and returned him to his apartment.  After all his apartment was a cozy 97 degrees. He snuggled up to his monkey and slept. He just kept sleeping.
Just doing chicken things!

I would scoop him out every hour to give him a drink, some food, and some much needed love. Even dying birds need love and comfort too. We went to bed, told him goodnight, and did it all again the next morning.

Friday morning I greeted him, like I did every morning, and he just wasn’t alert. I knew at that point that today was the day that Jesus would take him home. I gave him water, his electrolytes, and a bit of food, but something was different. Peep was very lethargic, very cold, and had a thick mucus in his mouth. I really knew at that point that it was time. I was praying that he would wait until Colby made it home, but God had other plans.  While cleaning, because I had also been super sick, I walked by the closet where his apartment was. God spoke to me and said, get Peep. Ok God, I hear you. I put down my cleaning towels, scooped Peep up and went outside with him. We sat in the warm sunshine with the older chicks.  His eyes were tightly closed, but he opened them, his breathing became more shallow, and he stretched out his sweet little wing and passed away. God took him home and he was healed.

Little Peep you were amazing!!! I loved you from the very beginning. I’m so glad that God chose me to be part of your life. I was going through some rough times while you were with us, and if it hadn’t been for you, then I don’t know what I would’ve done. Your down was incredible, your smell unforgettable, your cheep was lovable, and you were amazing! Your siblings are starting to feather out, and theres even a little one that we named Squirt. Squirt is little, probably the size you would be if you were still with us, and can you believe that his cheep is as loud and as frequent as yours? Every time I get Squirt out, he reminds me so much of you! I miss you so incredibly much, my depression worsened after you left us. Now there is a huge hole in my heart. I washed your monkey, Dad wouldn’t let me bury you with it, he said we might need it for another sick chick someday. I have somewhat cleaned out your apartment, but I can’t bare to finish. It’s still really hard. I know God gave us the right amount of time together, but to me it wasn’t enough. He needed you worse in heaven, then I needed you here on earth.

What I would give right now to hear you cheep, touch your fur, kiss and smell you. I took all of those things for granted while you were with us, and now you’re gone. Now, I just have those memories, and they are precious. I also made sure to take pictures of you! Peep, you made an impact on my life that I could never imagine. Thank you! I know you’re watching me down here, and I hope I’m doing ok with your siblings. I love them very much too. There are a few rambunctious one’s in there, but they are cute too.  No one has fur like you have, but that’s ok, because you were uniquely YOU!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lt. Charles Joseph Margiotta

Today marks 16 years since that fateful day that would change the course of our history as we know it.  I struggle today with the words to say here.  I can recount numerous times where I was and what I was doing when terror struck our country.  Today I get to teach my precious little 5 year old boy all about this day, Patriot Day.  It's not a good thing to do but it's time he start learning.  I was a 17 year old girl in high school when this happened.  Neither one of my kids were even thought about at this time.  Their innocence is something to be admired, but today I live with grief in my heart.

Many many years ago I chose to honor a first responder, a hero, every year on this very day.  I watched a documentary several months ago and when I saw his picture flash across the screen I exclaimed to my husband "that is the hero I honor every year."  It's not just about honoring him every year, but it's about honoring everyone that lost their lives to this tragic event. This year is no different.  He was an honorable man, who chose to go to the Twin Towers that morning because it was his duty. He lost his life that morning but no telling how many lives he really saved that day.  He will always remain in my heart.

Today I honor him.  Everyday we honor those that lost their lives to this tragic event on US soil.  Today our hearts are filled with grief and sadness for those lives that were lost today.  May we remember them everyday and may we never forget.  I'm at a loss today with words, I've written the same story every year, a story about a courageous man, and yet I have no words today.  Here are a few links so you can learn more about this man I honor every year.

Here is a link to my blog post about Lt. Charles Joseph Margiotta.  Here is last years blog post.
If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund or read stories about Lt. Margiotta, you can do so here.

May we always remember the 2,996 people killed that day and all of those suffering from various illnesses brought on by this day.  You see the people killed that day weren't the only one's who had lives affected, many people are battling different illnesses and diseases from the many chemicals flying through the air that day.  Let us never forget this day.  God bless America!

Lt. Charles Margiotta, thank you for your unwavering service.  Every year I will continue to honor you and learn more about you.

Update: Today we talked to Stephen (5) about what happened on this day 16 years ago and showed him pictures.  We explained it in a way that he could understand.  Having to teach your kids about this is not fun, but we made a craft to honor this day with.  It tore his Daddy up having to tell him that the "tower building men" couldn't put the towers back together.  Ever year we will get to teach him more as this day is an important part of our history.  This is not something we keep quiet about in our household.  Today is about those lives lost, and by remembering this day we keep those people in our hearts.  This is for you Lt. Charles Margiotta, I will teach our son of your heroic acts, and about your life, you will be remembered for many generations to come.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

How He loves us

Oh, How He Loves Us

One time we were part of a church.  They claimed that they accepted all people, “just come as you are.”  This was their mission statement of sorts.  They accepted you until they found out who you were, a sinner.  We were two people in love, two people who had worked out many issues both amongst themselves and personally.  Two people who love God, just two ordinary people.  We were nothing special.  One of us was heavily involved in the church, working on the Tech Team and working the camera both at the baptism area, sanctuary and elsewhere.  One of us sat in the sanctuary and listened to the message while the other one worked behind the scenes.  I thought alright, I like this church, I like what they stand for, I like that I can come with my sins and be forgiven because after all I’m human and they accept me for what I am, a sinner.  WRONG!!!

I got pregnant in January of 2011 and we found out in February 2011 (the 15th to be exact).  Once they found out we were sinners, suddenly we were shunned.  Suddenly the one who worked camera in the baptism area and in the sanctuary, could no longer do so.  The elders could never find out that someone got someone else pregnant outside of marriage, oh my.  Someone was told that they could no longer work in the public areas because then the elders of the church might think that they accepted this kind of thing, you know a child out of wedlock.  Here I was pregnant and yes, some very kind people in the church wrapped their arms around us and loved us through it.  They loved us through the tough times, the hard times, the scary times and they prayed for us.  It was a tough time for us, we needed our church’s support because my parents weren’t supportive and they sure as heck weren’t accepting.  What happened to come as you are?  Where did that go?  Just because I had committed a sin didn’t mean that God loved me any less, He loved me just the same as the day before.  He died on the cross for my sins, yet the church couldn’t accept that.  They wanted perfect people.  We were not and still aren’t perfect people, we never will be.  We are human and every day we make mistakes, but we are forgiven.

In October of 2011 we welcomed a precious little boy into the world.  He is perfection if there ever was such a thing.  Some members of the church came to see us, while others kept their distance.  My small group leader set up meals for a couple of weeks while we adjusted to the life of a new baby.  It was very kind and gave everyone a chance to come by and see the new bundle of joy.  I’m really grateful I was part of an awesome group back then. 

January, 2012 We wanted to get married in the church.  OH NO!!  Excuse us for wanting to do the right thing and complete our family, how dare us.  We were living together, after all we did have a very young baby.  We were told that in order to get married in the church we’d either have to go to the Justice of the Peace and do it or we’d have to live separately for a few months.  We couldn’t afford two separate rents, there was no way.  We fought with the church for a month about this.  Why wouldn’t they let us make things right?  “That’s our policy” they exclaimed.  Finally, on February 29, 2012 we ran off to the courthouse.  After we had that nifty marriage license in our hands we drove to the church and threw that in their face.  Now we could finally have the church wedding that we had longed for.  Here they were holding our sin against us, but Jesus has never done that. 

This brings me to the point of how He loves us.  He loves us as we are, though He yearns for us to be better.  He loves us even though we carry a lot of baggage and that baggage should be given to Him.  He loves us even though we make mistakes.  If God can love unconditionally, without judgement, without boundaries and without conditions, why can’t people love in the same manner?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Words from a Crohn's sufferers spouse

If I could find the words to tell my husband all the things I feel about this disease, I'm not sure he'd hear me.  Yesterday we went out of town so he could go to a checkup.  We usually go as a family, drop him off at the doctor's office and the kids and I go find some trouble to get into while we wait to go pick him up.  When he got back in the car yesterday he informed me he has a scope scheduled in a few weeks.  Ok, so now I have to find a sitter for 1-2 kids, I can take the 13 year old but I can not take the 5 year old to this kind of thing.  I always feel stuck, and it sucks immensely.  When I showed frustration about having to scramble to find a sitter for a procedure in 2 weeks, I was told that I always seem pissed off about him having procedures.  First off I do not enjoy them as much as he doesn't enjoy having them done, it's not a pleasurable experience for either one of us.  Secondly, I'm the only one who has to scramble to try to figure out the kid situation.

I said something yesterday to him about how I know he hates this disease for himself, but I hate it so much for our family.  This disease has taken over our lives in every way imaginable.  Sometimes it consumes us all as I take care of him and S.  Somedays I want to run out the door as he walks in the door because I'm so worn down.  Yesterday when I said something he said "yeah, I hate it more for myself." I didn't really know how to take that, it almost felt like we didn't matter at that point.  I wish he understood what it does to our family, how S doesn't really understand why his Daddy can't be around or do as much as he'd like.  I don't know how to tell him how I feel without setting him off and him thinking that I don't love or appreciate him.  I love him so much it hurts.  I love him so much that I could never leave him over a dumb disease.  It hurts me to see him in this situation that I didn't sign up for, but when we married I signed on to be his partner for life "in sickness and in health...til death do us part." That is what I signed up for.  Even if his disease had been as bad as it is now when we met, I don't think anything would be different.  He's my soul mate, my life partner, my husband and my best friend.

I don't think a Crohnie will ever truly understand how this disease affects those around them.  How miserable everyone can be in the middle of a flare.  How exhausting this disease can be for everyone around them.  I know he hates this disease for what it's done to him and his family, I just wish he truly understood what it does to me.  This disease isn't about me, but it sure affects me in ways he'll never understand.  Somedays I wonder if he can even see past himself, if he can see what it's doing to his family.  While we have no control over this, it still sucks.  I wish I had someone to cry out to who wouldn't think I was a bitch, someone to talk to who wouldn't judge me, someone to hug me and say "This is not the end, just a bump in the road." Someone who could be here to help me with the kids so  I could get just 10 minutes of peace.  Yesterday was an emotional day for me, a very tough day.  A day that I realized that my life has changed forever, and I'm not sure I'm ready for this drastic change.  He will always be my life partner, someone I trust, someone who can console me when I need it, and someone to talk to.